Times Of India Indeed!

India Inc. has been spreading its wings ever since the 1990’s. Globalisation has given growth and development a whole new meaning to the corporate sector in India. Ever since the New Economic Policy was introduced, our business leaders have embarked on the road towards global recognition and have never looked back. To highlight my point, we have the Tatas, who introduced the Nano, considered impossible by majority of the people . And if that was not enough, the Tatas went ahead with the legendary Corus deal.

Talking of impossible, another example is the IPL (Indian Premier League) that concluded two days ago. The entire country witnessed something of a miracle for the last forty five days. The cynics had maintained that the IPL would never be able to gather the kind of viewership and revenue that the EPL (English Premier League – inspiration and idea behind the IPL) had. It will take sometime before the IPL can get as grand as the EPL, but it has definitely become a rage for all age groups and has given county cricket in India a whole new face.

We have witnessed acquisitions by Indian companies in fields like steel, tea and automobiles. But last Friday, India Inc. spread its influence in the international media business as well. Bennett Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL), the country’s largest media group bought UK’S Virgin Radio for ₤53.2 million (Rs. 445 crore approximately). Virgin Radio is owned by the Scottish broadcaster, SMG Plc, though its franchisee is Richard Branson’s Virgin Enterprise. With this deal, BCCL has actually struck gold. Virgin Radio boasts of a staggering 2.7 million regular listeners. Not to mention that it has an FM license for London as well as a national AM license. The fact that the UK media circles are eagerly waiting to see what revolution the BCCL can create in a highly competitive industry like this shows the kind of respect Indian companies are now receiving from every part of the planet.

Bharti’s Sunil Mittal says, “This is a landmark for the Indian media and I hope it will set a new trend in the industry. It is great to see a home-grown media company transform into a global player.” Just to give you an idea of how huge this is for BCCL: Virgin Radio is about 15 years old. It is a rock-pop station catering to the target audience in the age group of 25-45 years. According to a BCCL representative, the station gets one million visitors over the internet from across the globe every month. There of course would be a few apprehensions, since it’s not every day that an Indian company decides to run a British radio station. But BCCL has allayed all apprehensions by appointing the founding team of Absolute Radio, an Irish radio company. The team consists of O’Driscoll who will be the CEO, and his partners Clive Dickens and Adrian Robinson who will help him spearhead 100 odd employees, who are part of this historic event.

BCCL is expected to bring about a fresh change in the UK radio industry, which, though competitive, has become slightly mundane over the years. According to me, this will actually give BCCL an opportunity to establish itself as a global or world renowned radio entity. This is because it already owns Radio Mirchi, which has the largest number of listeners in any part of the country. Everyone is aware of how successful Radio Mirchi has become, at least in the metropolitan cities. I have full confidence in BCCL and its ability to revolutionize the British Radio industry. We are a country with an enthusiastic business population. There can never be dearth of talent or ideas.

The British radio industry is just a pit stop. Don’t be surprised if companies like the BCCL, establish the likes of Radio Mirchi all over the world. It’s all part of the bigger plan: taking the world to India.

Anam Mittra

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